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Best Pregnancy and Fertility Tests

Updated on March 31, 2010

If you’re trying to conceive, using the most reliable and user-friendly pregnancy and fertility tests can make the process easier for you and reduce your stress. Here are the top pregnancy and fertility tests to help you during this exciting time.

Pregnancy

Home pregnancy test kits work by detecting a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which a developing placenta starts producing on the day the embryo attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. Most home pregnancy tests consist of an absorbent stick that the user holds in her urine stream, or dips in a cup in which she has collected urine. The kit tests for hCG and then gives the user a reading in a panel on the stick—usually, if a particular line appears in the panel, the results are positive. However, concentrations of hCG during pregnancy vary widely from woman to woman, and the best home pregnancy kits will detect lower levels of hCG.

According to Consumer Reports, the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test is the most reliable and sensitive home pregnancy test, retailing for $18.09 for two kits. This test uses the testing method described above and gives the user two lines to indicate pregnancy (one line to indicate there is no pregnancy). The lines on this test are stronger and easier to read than many other tests. If you’re planning to use a home pregnancy test, First Response is an excellent choice—but bear in mind that even the best home pregnancy tests are not always accurate, and the most accurate test will be one that is taken one week after a missed period.

Fertility Tests

Fertility tests are used to detect the most fertile 24-48 hours in a woman’s menstrual cycle—the timeframe in which a ripened egg emerges from its follicle and the five days before. For couples trying to get pregnant, this information is critical in helping them to know when a woman is most likely to conceive. Two days before ovulation, there is a rise in the levels of the lutenizing hormone (LH) in a woman’s blood and urine. How long this hormone remains at a high level varies from woman to woman. Fertility tests measure this hormone to indicate ovulation.

According to Consumer Reports, the ClearPlan Easy Ovulation Test Pack is the most accurate fertility test on the market. This test measures LH but also detects another hormone called estradiol which precedes the rise in LH. This product works much like the pregnancy tests: a woman urinates on an absorbent stick. However, the stick is then inserted into an electronic device which displays the results on an LCD screen.

Experts advise using multiple fertility tests for best results. The ClearPlan pack contains 5 sticks and retails for around $30.

Image Credit: Cloodlebing and Great Kindness, Flickr

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